Skip to main content

And How Are Things in Lithuania?

Atomki_cimoldal

Swimmingly, as it happens, since, like France, Lithuania gets almost three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear energy. Slovakia gets a little over half and Bulgaria between a third and a half. Add to these Hungary and the Czech Republic among those who fulfill more of their electricity needs via nuclear energy than does the United States. These tidbits, and more, can be found at Reuters Factbox about nuclear energy in central and southeastern Europe (meaning former Soviet satellites and Turkey.)

While one may retain an image of the bad old days in those countries as gray industrial sumpholes, nuclear plants did not contribute to the smog of Budapest nor rip up pristine Baltic landscapes. Consequently, most of these countries are extending the life of their current plants and planning more. Neighbors that hadn’t any plants, like Albania, are now on board. Only the Czechs (with the Green Party as part of the governing coalition) are hesitating, but we’ll see what happens there after the next elections. A few links for the curious:

Czech Nuclear Forum

Introduction to the Slovak Nuclear Society

The Lithuanian International Nuclear Safety Center

Institute of Nuclear Research (Hungary)

Picture of the Hungarian institute. Well, it certainly has that look the world came to know and love in the Soviet bloc days – 70s suburban jail. Personality not desired.

Comments

robert merkel said…
Nuclear energy looks even better in the Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) when you look at their alternatives.

The only fossil fuel they have (in Estonia) is oil shale. Their main potential gas source is Russia, a country whom none of them trust very much. All the hydro potential is pretty much tapped, I believe, and solar isn't going to work very well at their latitude.

Given all that, nuclear power is a pretty attractive option.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…